Opinion column :
Most news coverage of the immigration bill recently passed by the U.S. Senate focused on the border security, guest worker and amnesty issues. Virtually unnoticed in the bill was a provision that would make it easier for foreign nurses to immigrate and work in the American health-care system.
The purpose of this provision is to help reduce the nursing shortage facing our country by making it easier to recruit nurses from abroad.
Unfortunately, this policy represents a Band-Aid approach to the serious nursing shortage and distracts policymakers from addressing the fundamental problems behind the shortage.
Recruiting nurses from less affluent nations that are grappling with their own shortage of nurses does great damage to Third World health-care systems that struggle to provide even basic care for their citizens.
Nurses represent the largest occupational group in health care, and because of the extensive time they spend with patients, they are at the heart of the care-delivery system.
In recent years, our health-care system has faced a significant shortage of nurses. As of April, U.S. hospitals had 118,000 openings for RNs. The number of vacant positions is expected to grow to 275,000 by 2010, and to more than 800,000 by 2020.
Aug 16, '06
from the article-
"....despite these numbers, we really do not have a shortage of qualified nurses. what we have is an insufficient number of nurses willing to work under the very difficult working conditions they face in our hospitals."
"....eventually, the daily stress of working under these conditions caused nurses to begin leaving the field. and their leaving set off a chain reaction by increasing the shortage, which in turn, put additional pressure on the nurses who remain, causing even more to leave."
"...trying to address this problem by bringing nurses from abroad, or even by educating more nurses here, without addressing the root causes of the shortage, will have the same effect as sticking a finger into a leaky dike. it may help in the very short term, but in the long run, disaster awaits."
this makes me want to weep. someone finally gets it.
Last edit by Hellllllo Nurse on Aug 16, '06